Thursday, February 28, 2008

Across the universe

I never had an astronomy class when I went through school but I can imagine that it would be pretty dry. It takes a leap of faith to visualize a night sky in three dimensions, especially when the scale of what's out there is so incredibly enormous. In fact I don't even know if the human mind is capable of imagining how huge the universe really is.

All that to say that this Microsoft World Wide Telescope project is pretty staggering. Essentially they've composited pictures from the best telescopes that mankind has and put them together in some software that lets you navigate the universe in 3d. I guess over time as the imaging gets richer, so will the visualizations.

It's hard to look up at a nighttime sky and see a swirling mass of millions of stars when all you see is a little white dot. This software lets you zoom into the swirling masses and read up on what's there. Check it out;

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Zune

It's no secret that I really like my Zune 30 better than my iPod touch and so did my GF and we were timesharing the thing to the point that it became really irritating and finally broke down and bought her a new red 8GB Zune of her own.

She would have killed me if I bought an iPod and I understand why because she's used to the Zune and gave away the free iPod that she won because frankly it sucked for what she used it for. Most Apple people are equally or probably even more religious about their products and I guess it's easy to see why when you look at how nice the industrial design and form factors are and how easy they are to operate. Unfortunately, it seems they're also a little out of date with certain features for active users and the iTunes UI is really out of date.

That brings us to the new Zune and what's cool about it:
- Same zippity/fadey/glowy UI as the Zune 30 - super easy to use and great for sports/etc
- Squirt songs, albums & playlists wirelessly between devices but with a 3 play limit
- Wireless sync (GREAT!!)
- Flick through big lists with a feather touch flick vs. multiple clicks or click&hold

What's bad
- Software is maybe a bit too simple
- Firmware didn't update right away, I had to switch to a second USB port after a few cryptic errors
- Harder to get add ons

So in short, if you're an of the Church of the Fruit then don't bother because you've already got a great way of working but if you're starting from scratch it seems to me like a much more functional and modern alternative but not quite as pretty as the fruit. Then again looks are deceiving.

Where the hell am I?

I'm not sure if anybody even noticed but I've been out of sight for a while. You see, I've been busy - real busy. For the last couple of weeks I've been on the west coast in Victoria and then in Silicon Valley. Victoria was a straight up business trip, customer signoff and training. California on the other hand was some pretty exciting stuff. We've been working on a project with a major broadcaster on the Bejing Olympics. I can't say much about it but it's pretty cool stuff and I'm pretty stoked to have the contract. Now I'm back in my office and hopefully will get back in gear with blog updates soon.

I got my SO one of the new tiny Zunes and it's been a pretty cool addition to the toy department, deets soon...